December 31, 2011

Piping Live! hits the small screen with three BBC Alba TV broadcasts

The Gaelic language BBC Alba television network in the UK will run three special programs in December on the Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping, continuing the trend towards off-season piping and drumming programming on mainstream media outlets.

While BBC Alba broadcasts in Gaelic, subtitles will be included with each of the hour-long segments, which can be viewed by taxpaying UK citizens only.

Program 1 will air on December 10th, the second show will be on December 17th and the final instalment will air December 24th. Each program will be broadcast at 9 pm GMT.

The programs will comprise highlights of the 2011 Piping Live! festival, including excerpts from the numerous recitals and concerts over the six days of events.

Pipe bands included will be Inveraray & District, Oban High School, Canterbury Caledonia and New York Metro, while solo pipers featured include Fred Morrison, Niall Stewart, Glenn Brown and Kyle Warren. Celtic music groups on the shows include Hotel Palindrome, Vox Catriona and Grafenwind.

The BBC Alba Piping Live! programs follow the BBC’s coverage of the World Pipe Band Championships and, more recently, a BBC Northern Ireland documentary, “Pipe Dreaming,” on the “battle” between Field Marshal Montgomery and St. Laurence O’Toole for supremacy at the World’s.

According to a BBC spokesman, the BBC Alba shows are expected to be available via iPlayer following their broadcast.


  1. I think we’re spoiled brats here in Scotland in a way because we have all this access to the likes of these programmes, when others elsewhere in the world would give their back teeth to see them —well maybe not, but you get my drift. But in company yesterday when mentioning this, there was a kind of dull yawning sound. When explored further, it’s because when you turn to BBC Alba, you see the same faces over and over and over again. So much so that it can seem like some people are in a sitting room somewhere making music, and you the outsider shouldn’t really be there–as if you’re eavesdropping from out on the street. My personal interest in all things piping would over-ride this and I’d watch these programmes but I must admit that at other times when I turn to Alba, there is that feeling–‘there they are again in that room and they’re quite happy without me asking to be let in’. All of which is v interesting in a wider sense, and all of which many would disagree with, but that was the discussion yesterday in a group of five people not fanatical about piping per se, but who’d attend the Worlds, and tune in to the more popular stuff. None of the five were Gaels so that may have a lot to do with it, but I think BBC Alba wants to reach more than just the Gaelic speakers–though that will obviously be their biggest audience I guess. Anyway, I’ll be tuning in.



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